Thrill of a Lifetime

By David Elliott – bio | email

The Ohio Air National Guard's 178th fighter wing is training on the Mississippi Coast this month.

The pilots fly F-16 fighter jets at incredible speeds. Speed is something motorcycle racer Josh Hayes and his wife Melissa Paris-Hayes can appreciate.

"On the track we're going about 195 mph," said Hayes, a Gulfport native.

The two realized a dream Wednesday morning thanks to the Ohio Air National Guard. The motorcycle racers were invited to fly in a F-16.

"It will be the roller coaster ride of a lifetime," says Major Bernie Willis.

Josh and Melissa passed a flight physical, and they were fitted with flying gear. They climbed into the F-16 and prepared to take to the sky.

The engines roared and the fighter jet climbed to 10,000 feet in an instant. Josh Hayes and Melissa Paris-Hayes live in a world dominated by speed, but they will never forget this experience.

"It's something I've been wanting to do my whole life. Now, it's time to get back to my motorcycle," said Hayes.

Melissa Paris-Hayes will compete in the Daytona 200 March 3rd through the 5th.

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